Posts Tagged ‘New Hampshire’

No. 1 Vermont slingshots its way past No. 8 New Hampshire, 77-60, advances to semifinals

Sunday, March 9th, 2014
Vermont's Candon Rusin drives on New Hampshire's Jaleel Smith during the first half of Saturday's quarterfinal. Rusin scored 15 points and the Catamounts rolled to a 77-60 win. OBW Photo / Sam Perkins

Vermont’s Candon Rusin drives on New Hampshire’s Jaleel Smith during the first half of Saturday’s quarterfinal. Rusin scored 15 points and the Catamounts rolled to a 77-60 win. OBW Photo / Sam Perkins

It’s the oldest trick in the book – the rope-a-dope.

For 12 minutes, the Vermont Catamounts (20-9 Division I, 16-1 AE) gave their opponent the impression that the events on the court constituted a competitive game. Sure, Vermont was destroying New Hampshire (5-24 Division I, 4-13 AE) on the glass, but rebounds don’t count on the scoreboard, and after the Wildcats hit a trio of 3-pointers within 56 seconds to open up a 25-17 lead, one could be forgiven for thinking the Catamounts may be in a little bit of hot water.

“We just had to start playing better defense and at that point we started talking about putting more pressure on their guards, limiting their 3-point attempts and once we started doing that, the game turned around in our favor,” said Vermont head coach John Becker.

One minute later, after a Patrick Konan layup re-established UNH’s eight-point lead at 27-19 with 6:50 left to play in the first half, Vermont decided enough was enough. A lid was screwed onto one basket, and the Wildcats had no way of screwing it off. And slowly but surely, Vermont choked the life out of its opponent, one made basket, rebound, or hustle play at a time. (more…)

Daniel Dion growing up fast

Sunday, February 9th, 2014
UNH freshman Danie Dion. OBW File Photo / Sam Perkins

UNH freshman Danie Dion. OBW File Photo / Sam Perkins

(Stony Brook, N.Y.) — New Hampshire freshman Daniel Dion looked like a veteran on court Saturday in the Wildcats’ 73-69 upset win over Stony Brook. Dion scored nine of his 13 points, including the game-winning three-pointer, during a stretch that saw the lead change seven times.

The Wildcats were down 69-68 with 30 seconds left and called timeout. Coach Herrion drew up a play for Dion. With ice in his veins, Dion was able to get free on the left wing for a deep triple to give UNH the lead for good. Dion was completely unfazed by the magnitude of knocking off the top team in the conference.

“He’s a really, really talented offensive player,” Herrion said. “Physically, he looks like a school kid, but he’s really skilled on offense. He’s fearless, he’s not afraid to shoot the ball. When he shoots it, he’s the kind of kid that makes you always think it’s going in.”

Dion has found his stride and score in double figures in each of his last five games. He feels that he is thriving in New Hampshire’s unselfish style of offense.

“I like our teammates, everybody shares the ball, it’s never stuck in one spot,” Dion said. “We had four guys in double digits today, it’s just a balanced scoring effort.”

Dion’s maturity shined when he said he thinks defense and effort are more important than offense.

“Coach Herrion just makes us play hard, that’s the one thing we’ll always do,” he said. “If the ball doesn’t go in the basket or we’re not playing well, we’ll always play hard and play good defense. We hang our hats on playing as hard as we can.”

Even though it’s his first year, he wanted to snap the Wildcats’ seven-game losing streak to the Seawolves as bad as the upperclassmen did.

“Stony Brook’s a great team and we’ve been planning for them for a couple days,” he said. “We just went out there and played our hardest. They’re definitely tough, they play two senior guards that are really good; hopefully I can get to that point in my career.”

He’s well on his way.

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Jordon Bronner: New Hampshire’s 40 minute man

Monday, January 27th, 2014
Jordon Bronner shoots over UMass Lowell's Kerry Weldon during the first half of the Wildcats' 61-32 road win. OBW Photo / Sam Perkins

Jordon Bronner shoots over UMass Lowell’s Kerry Weldon during the first half of the Wildcats’ 61-32 road win. OBW Photo / Sam Perkins

Thumb through any UNH Wildcats box score from the past four years and you are likely to see an efficient but unmemorable stat line next to point guard Jordon Bronner’s name. It’s when you look at the opposing box, specifically the stat line of the back court scorer that Bronner shadowed that night, that you see the senior’s true impact.

“I think Jordon Bronner does not get enough credit,” said New Hampshire head coach Bill Herrion following the Wildcats’ 62-31 road win at UMass Lowell on Sunday. “He’s a very, very underrated player in this league, for four years, because he’s not a scorer.

“He’s as good an on-ball defender [as I’ve ever seen],” said Herrion, whose 23 year head coaching career spans stints at Drexel, Eastern Carolina and UNH.

During in his four-year career, Bronner has never averaged double-figures in scoring or more than 2.4 assists or 2.7 rebounds per game. . His single-season bests of 36.7 percent from the floor or 30.2 percent from behind the arc are pedestrian at best. He has never played for a team with a winning record or earned a single America East yearly or weekly award.

But for 107 games and counting, he has quietly left everything he has on the court, serving as one of the few threads holding together a Wildcats team that has seemed perpetually on the verge of flying apart at the seams.

“He’s really been a rock for us,” said Herrion of the unimposing six-foot 170-pound senior from Sleepy Hollow, N.Y.

During his final season of college ball, Bronner has been playing the way every senior should by quietly putting together the best season of his career. Bronner’s average of 9.7 points per game is nearly double that of his previous career-best; his 80.8 percent from the free-throw line is nearly 15 percent higher then his prior career-high and he is averaging nearly a 2:1 assist-to-turnover ratio for a fourth-straight season.

But Bronner’s biggest impact is once again coming on the other side of the basketball and in the locker room. This year, the Wildcats have been decimated by injuries, playing several recent games with only seven bodies in uniform. Bronner has battled a bad knee injury all season long, and endured a stretch in which the Wildcats lost 13 straight and 15 out of 16, but he suited up and left it all on the floor each and every night, while setting an example in practice for his young and impressionable teammates.

“He’s been playing all 40 [minutes] almost every game and he’s got a bad knee. He’s played every game this year and he’s never missed a practice,” said Herrion. (more…)

OBW America East preseason predictions: #7 New Hampshire

Friday, October 4th, 2013

Projected starting lineup:
G- Jordan Bronner, Sr., 6’ 170
G – Scott Morris, Sr., 6’2” 200
F – Patrick Konan, R-Sr., 6’6” 220
F – Jacoby Armstrong, Fr. 6’6” 220
C – Chris Pelcher, R-Sr., 6’10” 240

Overview:
What if.

New Hampshire head coach Bill Herrion. OBW photo / Sam Perkins

New Hampshire head coach Bill Herrion. OBW photo / Sam Perkins

On March 8, 2009, fifth-seed New Hampshire was roughly 90 seconds away from upsetting top-ranked Binghamton – yeah, those Kevin Broadus 2009 Binghamton Jail-cats. All the Wildcats needed to do was hang on for a couple of possessions and they would be hosting the America East Championship the following Saturday.

What if Radar Onguetou doesn’t throw away that inbounds pass? What if Tyrone Conley didn’t get knocked unconscious and out of the game after absorbing a brutal foul while throwing down a ferocious tomahawk dunk? What if Alvin Abreu wasn’t forced to watch the game from the sidelines due to injury?

What if…

At the time, the loss was heartbreaking but the future was bright for the Wildcats: New Hampshire had a deep and talented returning core of underclassmen who were just beginning to scratch the surface of their potential.

Five years later, and the Wildcats have never again sniffed the moderate success they reached in 2009, or bottled anything from that semifinal game. Each successive season has ended in disappointment and underachievement. (more…)

Profoundly Personal

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013
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New Hampshire head coach Bill Herrion (Photo by Sam Perkins)

(Boston, MA) – For New Hampshire head coach Bill Herrion, this was personal.

One game after becoming the all-time leader in America East wins with the 153rd conference victory of his career – a dramatic 92-86 overtime thriller over visiting UMBC – Herrion watched as his Wildcats reverted back to their losing ways; chucking up three’s, forcing shots and stumbling to a 68-56 road loss to Boston University in a game that was never close.

It was the 134th meeting between the two schools, who date back as founding members of the ECAC North Conference – the predecessor of the present America East – in 1979. It’s been a rivalry akin to that of a hammer and a nail, with the Terriers owning a 96-38 record in head-to-head matchups.

With Boston University leaving the America East for the Patriot League at season’s end, the game marked the end of an era – and a 33 year partnership that survived three different conference incarnates – for the two schools, and the final time they would meet as conference foes.

Following the final buzzer, for Herrion, the magnitude of the moment went far beyond the game, the rivalry, or the season: It was far more than a tough, old-school head coach taking another one on the chin in a year full of lumps, or the New Hampshire program once again being pummeled by a team that has used it as a perennial punching bag.

For Herrion, it was a trip to his former home and a place that will forever hold special significance in his heart. It was at Boston University where Herrion, a native of Oxford, Massachusetts and Merrimack College graduate (1981), got his start, being hired as an assistant under then-Terriers head coach Mike Jarvis in 1985.

“I spent five years here as an assistant from 85 to 90, with Mike Jarvis – he was the head coach,” reflected Herrion. “My five years here as an assistant, we never played a game here in the Roof [Case Gymnasium]; we used to play all the home games in the Walter Brown – in the rink.”

“We went to two NCAA Tournaments, we went to an NIT; We played Providence in the NIT here when [Louisville head coach Rick] Pitino was coaching at Providence and [Florida head coach] Billy Donovan was playing,” he explained.

In his first two years as a Terrier, Herrion was immediately thrown into the fire of the BU-Northeastern rivalry, losing back-to-back conference Championships to the Huskies.

“My first two years here at BU in 85-86 and 86-87, we lost in the finals to Northeastern. You don’t even realize what the Northeastern-BU rivalry used to be – it was big time,” he emphasized. “[late NBA great] Reggie Lewis was at Northeastern and they beat us our first two years here in the finals to go to the Tournament.” (more…)

It’s Not the Size of the Dog in the Fight, It’s the Size of the Fight in the Terriers.

Monday, February 18th, 2013
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Boston University point guard Maurice Watson Jr., pushed the ball in transition against New Hampshire Sunday afternoon. Watson posted his first career double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds, adding six assists and three steals in the Terriers 68-56 win (Photo by Sam Perkins).

(Boston, MA) – Following Boston University’s 68-56 win over visiting New Hampshire, BU freshman point guard Maurice Watson Jr. – listed at 5’10” on the Terriers’ official roster – was asked just how tall he would like to credit himself with being.

“Five-ten,” said Watson with a mischievous smile, “Five-ten and a half in my sneakers.”

Dwarfed by a surrounding scrum of 5’9” writers, it was immediately apparent that the Lansdowne, Pennsylvania native was taking some serious liberties in assessing his stature.

But Watson and equally diminutive back-court mate D.J. Irving played like seven-footers on Sunday, as the dynamic-duo dominated the game and destroyed the visiting Wildcats on the glass, 43-28. The pint-sized playmakers powered the Terriers, combining for 23 points, 19 rebounds, 12 assists and five steals.

“Those two kids can play – they can play basketball, doesn’t matter if they’re five-whatever or six-four, those two kids can play,” said New Hampshire head coach Bill Herrion of the tiny tandem.

A week after notching a career-high 13 assists, Watson posted his first career double-double, pulling down a game and career-high 10 rebounds to go with 13 points. The America East leader in assists at 5.2 per game, Watson dropped six dimes and swiped three steals.

Officially listed at 6’ but checking in much closer to 5’9”, Irving added nine rebounds and ten points, to go with six steals and two steals. After spending his first two years on Comm. Ave., as the Terriers starting point guard, the junior from Chester, Pennsylvania, moved off the ball this year to make room for Watson, but still ranks fifth in the America East in assists.

“Either one of those guys can initiate offense,” said Boston University head coach Joe Jones.

Junior forward Dom Morris continued his stellar junior season, scoring 13 points, shooting 5-of-9 from the floor and a perfect 3-of-3 from the line, to go with eight rebounds and three steals. Red-shirt sophomore forward Malik Thomas added 10 points and freshman sharp-shooter John Papale added nine points, with the duo combining to connect on four of the Terriers seven made three’s.

The Terriers shot 45.5 percent from the floor (25-of-55), 43.8 percent from behind the arc (7-of-16) and 78.6 percent from the line (11-of-16). BU jumped all over New Hampshire in the opening stanza, leading 34-17 at the half and pushed their lead to 20 early in the second, before coasting to the win.

“I thought we played a great half of basketball – I was very pleased with our effort for the first 20 minutes,” said Jones. “In the second half, just like you knew they would, they played with great heart in the second half. For the majority of the second half I thought they outplayed us.”

The Wildcats continued their season-long trend of being unable to put the ball in the bucket, shooting a dismal 37.5 percent from the floor (21-of-56), while bombing their way to a horrifying 4-of-22 (18.2 percent) from downtown.

“In the first half we were just three happy again,” said Herrion with a snap of his fingers, “when we do that, we’re not good.” (more…)

Debacle in Durham

Friday, January 25th, 2013
Hartford forward Nate Sikma embodying the first-half performances of both teams in Thursday night's Debacle in Durham (photo by Sam Perkins).

Hartford forward Nate Sikma captures the first-half performances of both teams in Thursday night’s Debacle in Durham in microcosm (photo by Sam Perkins).

(Durham, New Hampshire) – Temperatures in Durham dipped into the single digits Thursday night with bone-chilling blasts of arctic air bombing down Main Street.

They had nothing on the frigid shooting and ice-cold offense inside Lundholm Gymnasium.

The New Hampshire Wildcats and the University of Hartford Hawks engaged in a reverse-game of HORSE Thursday night; any shot you can miss, I can miss… better. The Hawks eventually emerged as the lesser of two evils in the battle of horrifically bad offenses, pulling away for a 51-40 win.

“In the first half it was not a picturesque game,” said New Hampshire head coach Bill Herrion.

In the opening 20 minutes of basketball, neither team could crack 20 points – or hit water if they fell out of a canoe – and the two teams went into the halftime locker rooms deadlocked at 19. Hartford shot just 32 percent from the floor (8-of-25) and 18.2 percent from behind the line (2-of-11) in the first half – and they had the hot hand. New Hampshire shot 31.6 percent from the floor (6-of-19) and 0-for-4 from behind the arc. Each team played stifling defense… when they had the ball in their own hands.

It was a barn-burner alright: If the action was any livelier, a funeral may have broken out on the court.

The difference in the game was that Hartford had a go-to scorer in forward Mark Nwakamma, and New Hampshire didn’t have an answer.

“We have a guy, sitting to my left – Mark Nwakamma – who can take over a lot of games, and we were fortunate to have him on our team tonight and that’s just the bottom line,” said Hartford head coach John Gallagher.

“They went to the kid Nwakamma and we had no answers. He’s really good – he’s really, really good,” said Herrion. “He’s a First Team All-Conference guy. He’s a premier player,” raved Herrion.

The league’s leading scorer in conference games at just over 17 points per contest, Nwakamma was largely held in check in the first half, but broke through the ice in the second, scoring 16 of his game-high 23 points after the intermission, almost single-handedly carrying Hartford to victory. The 6’6” sophomore hit 11-of-20 shots from the floor while showcasing a complete offensive arsenal, scoring on the blocks on an array of low-post moves; off the bounce blowing by overmatched defenders; and in the mid-range game, knocking down jumpers. Nwakamma added eight rebounds, two assists, a steal and a block.

“He can score in, out, up, down. He’s a prolific scorer,” said Gallagher.

“I’ve been in this league, a long time – he’s a really good player,” said Herrion. “He can post you, he’s very quick, he can face [up] 15, 17 feet.”

Hartford shot 41.7 percent from the floor (20-of-48) and 23.5 percent (4-of-17) from behind the arc. Outside of Nwakamma, the rest of the Hawks roster combined to shoot just 32.1 percent (9-of-28) from the floor. New Hampshire managed just 34.9 percent shooting (15-of-43) while missing all 10 of its three-point attempts – the first time in more than 20 years that New Hampshire had failed to hit at least one three in a game.

“We’re obviously not in a good spot, at all,” said Herrion. “Our confidence is shot, there’s no question about it. I think it affects both ends of the floor.” (more…)

Knowing Their Roles: Teamwork, Selfless Play Powers Albany to 68-62 win over New Hampshire.

Thursday, January 17th, 2013
Albany's Jacob Iati passes out of a double team by New Hampshire's Chris Matagrano (33) and Chandler Rhoads (3) in the Great Dane's 68-62 win (Photo by Sam Perkins).

Albany’s Jacob Iati passes out of a double team by New Hampshire’s Chris Matagrano (33) and Chandler Rhoads (3) in the Great Dane’s 68-62 win (Photo by Sam Perkins).

(Durham, NH) – On a moonless night in snow-covered Durham, the New Hampshire Wildcats and Albany Great Danes took to the deadwood floorboards of Lundholm Gymnasium on Wednesday, showcasing their trademarked brands of basketball before the empty seats of the ancient gymnasium.

The Great Danes’ guards got into the lane off the bounce and to the free-throw line en masse, while a roster full of grunt-work grinders and supporting-cast players knew their roles and dominated the dirty work in the trenches.

The Wildcats, meanwhile, shot themselves out of the game in the first half, shot themselves back into it in the second, and shot themselves in the foot in the game’s deciding moments, falling 68-62 at home to their America East Conference rival.

“Anybody that’s watched us all year, we just find ways to win games: no style points – we’re just a resilient group that plays well together,” said Albany head coach Will Brown. “They want to win so badly that it’s straight roll up the sleeves, put on the lunch pail and just find a way [to win].”

“I’m proud that we didn’t quit,” said New Hampshire head coach Bill Herrion. “Disappointed – and this has been a real problem with our team this year – with lack of discipline: following scouting reports and game plans with some people has been really inconsistent.”

Albany won the game by relentlessly attacking the hoop and winning the battle in the trenches. The Great Danes out-scored the Wildcats 32-22 in points in the paint and out-rebounded New Hampshire 35-28. Albany turned 12 offensive rebounds into 19 second chance points, while New Hampshire managed just six second chance points. The Great Danes front court quartet of forwards Sam Rowley, Blake Metcalf, Luke Devlin and center John Puk combined for 27 points and 20 rebounds.

“I thought we had a lot of possessions tonight where we defended really well and then missed box-outs,” said Herrion.

The Great Danes also hit 21-of-29 free-throws, while the Wildcats took just 10 shots from the charity stripe on the night, hitting seven.

“Going into the game we told our kids one of our biggest keys defensively was you have to guard these kids without fouling,” said Herrion. “They’re killing people at the free throw line: They’ve outscored their opponents on the year by 116 points from the free throw line.”

Albany senior point guard Mike Black posted his second straight 20-point performance, scoring a game-high 22 points on 7-of-12 shooting from the floor and 7-of-8 shooting from the line, to go along with six rebounds and four assists.

Rowley, a 6’5” man without a true position, posted his third straight double-double after being inserted into the starting lineup three games ago, scoring 10 points and pulling down 10 rebounds. The undersized Aussie forward is averaging a double-double in conference play. (more…)

Catamounts roar into the start of conference play, Wildcats go softly into [cold] night.

Thursday, January 3rd, 2013

(Durham, NH) – The University of New Hampshire Wildcats may have been a thorn in the side of the Vermont Catamounts during previous seasons, but in Wednesday night’s America East opener, they offered up little resistance against the defending America East champs.

By tip-off Wednesday night, temperatures in Durham dipped to the low-end of single-digits, inside Ludholm Gymnasium, the Wildcats offense and internal fire weren’t burning much warmer. Vermont rolled to a 64-51 road win in a game that wasn’t as close as the final score.

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Vermont guard Josh Elbaum handles the ball during the Catamounts 64-51 road win over New Hampshire on opening night of America East conference play (Photo by Sam Perkins).

“We executed our defensive game-plan as well as we have all year, as far as doing it for 40 minutes and doing all the little things that we expect of the guys,” said Vermont head coach John Becker.

“They deserved to win, they outplayed us, and it started from the beginning,” said New Hampshire head coach Bill Herrion. “First home conference game, against the defending league champions, I thought we’d put up a much better fight: we kind of went away quietly in the second half.”

Vermont used timely shooting, effort and intensity on the glass and defensive end, and a patient and diverse offense to handle the lethargic Wildcats. Nine different players scored for the Catamounts.

“Hopefully we can continue to get production from nine guys so that we can use a nine-man rotation,” said Becker.

Do-everything forward Brian Voelkel keyed Vermont, ripping down 13 rebounds to go with six assists and five points.

“Brian set the tone for us all night – being vocal and his energy on both ends of the court,” said Becker. “He is our leader, and when he does that, guys follow.”

With Forwards Luke Apfeld and Clancy Rugg struggling through ineffective nights, a trio of unusual suspects packed Vermont’s scoring punch in freshman forward Ethan O’Day, first-year transfer Candon Rusin and reserve center Ben Crenca.

O’Day, who had struggled for nearly a month after a hot start to the season, paced Catamounts out of the gate, scoring eight of his 11 points in the early going.

“I thought Ethan O’Day was just all over the offensive glass,” said Becker. (more…)

Past the Point of Moral Victories

Monday, December 17th, 2012

New Hampshire guard Chandler Rhoads is met at the rim by Boston College forward Patrick Heckmann with 30 seconds remaining in regulation and the game tied 52-52. Rhoads got a point-blank look, with Heckmann rotating over late, but could not convert and the Wildcats fell in overtime, 61-59, at Conte Forum (Photo by Sam Perkins).

(Chestnut Hill, MA) — On a cold winter’s eve on the first of December in 1986, beneath dirty-yellow light which drifted down over creaking wooden-bleachers in a mostly empty Lundholm Gymnasium, the University of New Hampshire Wildcats stepped onto the deadwood floorboards over their home court and knocked off the Boston College Eagles.

It has been 26 years since that frigid night in Durham. 11 times since then, the Wildcats and Eagles have taken the hardwood opposite each other. And 11 times the Wildcats have gone home empty-handed. Many times during that stretch New Hampshire was within one Austin Ganly tomahawk-slam, one Tyrece Gibbs step-back three, one Dane DiLiegro floor-burn dive, and one Alvin Abreu heart-and-hustle play, of an upset win.

Late Sunday afternoon, New Hampshire stood 58 seconds away from finally ripping victory away from Boston College. Three times, the Wildcats were within one play of knocking off the Eagles on their home floor at Conte Forum.

“I’ve been doing this a long time and I’m long past moral victories,” said New Hampshire head coach Bill Herrion, standing outside the team bus following the Wildcats 61-59 overtime loss – a soft rain turning to snow beneath a rapidly-darkening grey sky; the darkened hulk of Alumni Stadium serving as a back drop for the impromptu interview.

“I thought we had a very good chance of winning if we played our game and executed,” said Herrion, “We had chances; we just didn’t get it done.” (more…)